Excellent draw against Wanstead

Ilford A v Wanstead A, 6 March 2023.
NCCL DivA, 6 board match, G80 + 10. Toss won by Ilford-  White on odd boards.
Jef Page, captain.

2057        DAVID SALAMI 1-0   JOHN  CAWDREY 2079
1915               TOM A BARTON 0-1   DAVID  SHERMAN 2067
1674          JEF PAGE 1-0  ASHLEY  FREEMAN 1998
1597                    TAHA UNDRE 0-1   IAN D HUNNABLE 1908
1779                   DANIEL LOWE 0-1  PHIL STANILAND     1901 

Adhar Jaiswal was down to play but had to drop out at the last minute due to an illness so as ‘supersub’ I stepped in; hopefully Adhar recovers soon. Missing a few regular players we had a new member David Salami on board one for a tough start to playing for Ilford. All of us were outgraded as you can see. We only narrowly lost to Wanstead in the away match so this was the return match.

Venkatesh arrived a  bit late, seemed to have a tricky game a pawn down but after Steve allowed a tactic he made short work of the rest of the game. Taha & Daniel were always under pressure. Ian managed to create a passed centre pawn backed up by his Rooks which proved decisive. Similarly Tom’s Dutch Defence got awkward, his queenside undeveloped, Sherman gained control of the middle game and finished decisively.

I found Freeman’s opening difficult to defend against- he isolated my weak d-pawn in a very open Caro-Kann, I gambled on causing difficult complications so attacked to break out. As I only had about 20 seconds remaining and with Ashley‘s Queen offside, I attacked it with a pawn thinking it would force him to retreat- only to find it was completely trapped!  The right move for the wrong reason but a happy result. The last game to finish was David’s and it’s always satisfying when you can put in a new member to make his debut and he wins, and makes the score all square. He put in a strong attack against John’s King which was beaten off and in the resulting endgame although John was pawns up, skilful play by David eliminated his advantage and trying to find a win, John lost on time.

Wanstead and Barking in the NCCL are tying for Division A top spot, 5 points each. Chingford and Ilford are fighting for bottom spot, 2 points each. See the table at: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/69105/tables


D3 match – long trip to Southend.

Essex D3 match – Southend 2 v Ilford 2 – Friday 3 March 2023.
5 board match, G80 + 10
Tom Barton, captain.

A long trip to Southend is not conducive to playing a game of chess and it seemed to affect the Ilford players who didn’t get off to a good start. Muhammed dropped a piece coming out of the opening, Euan lost two queenside pawns after falling to a clever tactic coming out of the opening, and was under pressure, and Biel’s opponent gained a favourable position and took a tactical opportunity to win an exchange. Euan and Muhammed lost so we were two down.

Jef had the much better position against Mick Saunders French but couldn’t find a way to exploit the advantage and fell well behind on the clock. Taha had a complex position with interesting possibilities.

Biel fought back to get the exchange back and managed to hold the rook and pawn endgame for a draw. Jef launched an attack but he couldn’t find the right moves under time pressure and he lost on time trying. Taha and his opponent reached a position where neither was sure of having an advantage and agreed a draw. They analysed the position as given here

31. White to move
Lacey v Undre

It looked like White should play h4 to break up the pawns protecting Black’s King, and indeed computer analysis says this is the best move and that White has a clear advantage.

The final score was 4-1.

Result with latest OTB grades on LMS
Board                   Southend II                        Ilford II            
1 (B)       1671      Saunders, M. J.  1 – 0       Page, Jeffrey   1674
2 (W)     1657      Lacey, Nick J       ½ – ½      Undre, Taha      1597
3 (B)       1612      Clancy, Mark      ½ – ½               Obiols, Biel         1576
4 (W)     1536      Davis, Joshua     1 – 0               Faheem, Muhammad     1496
5 (B)       1528      Duke, Taylor       1 – 0               O’Connell, Euan 1233
                                                              4 – 1      

Essex D2 Win to put Ilford well top

Ilford 1 v Barking2, 27 February 2023.
Essex D2, 6 board match, G80 + 10. Toss won by Ilford-  White on odd boards.
Jef Page, captain.

The match started well when I refused to offer a draw and pounced on a disastrous pawn-move by Vladmir whose Kingside disintegrated with an offered Rook sac’ which he couldn’t take, and I mated him. So from here on we were always ahead.

Venkatesh forced his a-pawn up the board supported by both R’s & King. Neville got a pawn ahead of Clow but in an opposite colour Bishop ending it took a while. Neville targeted an isolated pawn, held his advantage as his R, B & K aimed for the pawn which Ken’s K tried to defend. Nev slowly advanced up the board and succeeded in not just threatening the pawn but checkmating Ken. Tom had the advantage over Robinson’s opening but with his time running out & unable to find the winning moves took a draw. The match finished when Adrian who had superior development against Blagianu- whose his K-side pawns had raced down the board- forced a fatal error against Mihaita who lost his Queen. 4 wins, 2 draws& no losses- very good- the advantage of a strong and reliable team.

A 7th straight win so we finish the 1st part of the season undefeated: who would have believed it possible at the start of the season. Still 3 matches to go to find out who’s won the division, trophy, and whether we can book the open-top bus for a victory parade around Ilford: Ilford 7/7 14 paints, Barking 4/7 8 points, Thurrock 8, Witham 7. So to win the division with a final accumulated score we need just 1 win and then we‘re uncatchable and can look upwards.

Another Essex D2 Win

Ilford 1 v Brentwood 1, 6 February 2023.
Essex D2, 6 board match, G80 + 10. Toss won by Ilford-  White on odd boards.
Jef Page, captain.

Time Control: 80 minutes + 10 seconds a move.

1935                   TOM BARTON    ½   MALCOLM KINGSLEY 1859
1929                   RAHUL GHOSE 0-1  ROB J DAVIES 1788
1965         NEVILLE TWITCHELL 1-0  MICHAEL MASON  1750 
1630                  ADRIAN JOSEPH 1-0  COLIN ELLIS  1875
1688              JEF PAGE  1-0  default
1818                             Average grade                 1413

The average grade shows Ilford were far stronger so it was no surprise we won the match. We started off 1-nil up as Brentwood arrived a man short which Captain Colin Ellis generously warned me about the night before. It was a match of 2 Rook for Knight sacrifices both of which worked in their different ways. Venkatesh looked to be having difficulty developing his pieces so gambling, and having control of the c-file, he sac’d his R for N & a pawn and suddenly it was Crossley under pressure. With Subramanian’s 2 knights hopping around the board the issue was settled with a lovely,sweet smothered mate.

Davies, who used to play for us, had a strong attack and sac’d his R for N to dominate the centre of the board. But Rahul fought back and invaded white’s position with Queen & Rook chasing Rob’s King out from g1 to the safety of h6 (!) and suddenly Ghose found he couldn’t mate Davies, and worse, Rahul couldn’t stop a 1-move mate.  Neville always had the advantage over Mason’s Caro-Kann opening, won his isolated Q-pawn and the minor-piece & pawns ending was never really in doubt. Tom on board 1 gained lots of space sending all his Q-side pawns up to the 4th rank, but unable to gain any real advantage over Kingsley with material level, accepted a draw. Adrian Joseph made a welcome return to Ilford and had Ellis in trouble right from the opening for whilst delaying his development Adrian controlled the board with his pawns. When his Q attacked the Q-side he won a Bishop & a N. Ellis fought back well to run a pawn dangerously down the board to the 2nd rank but pieces down, he lost control and once the pawn disappeared, the threat and game was over.

We are now unbeaten, 5/5. Nice to be top of the tree for the moment, for a change.

London League Pasting

London League D2 match – Dulwich 1 v Ilford 1 – 1 February 2023.
8 board match, G75 + 15
Tom Barton, captain.

Ryan Randall (b) 2229K                 1-0         Tom Barton (w) 1935K             +294
Andrew M Pridding (w) 2188K    1-0         Neville H Twitchell 1965K            +223
IM Petr Marusenko 2193K           1-0               Venkatesh Subramanian 1801K  +392
Haran Rasalingam 2043K              1-0         Jeffrey Page 1644K        +399
Peter A Andrews 2011K                1-0         Adhar Jaiswal 1556P    +455
Benjamin K Simpson 1915K         1-0         Daniel Lowe 1840P       +75
Walk Over           1-0         For Feit
Walk Over           1-0         For Feit
match result: 8 — 0

Dulwich pulled out their strongest team of the season so far and having defaulted the bottom two boards already (train strikes didn’t help) we were very heavily out graded (Mean rating Dulwich 2096, Ilford 1790: Δ = 306 !!) and looking for inspiration to get something out of the match. Venkatesh played an IM; Jef and Adhar had deltas of 399 point and 455 points respectively! Looking round the boards the team gave a good account of itself and no one rolled over. Jef had a very cramped French position which he managed to wriggle to a slightly better position. Neville had chances in his game and maybe should have traded Queens when he had the chance. Dan was well up on the clock but pawns down. The losses ticked in and at the death mine was the last game and I was trying to get something to avoid a complete rout. My opponent and I got down to under 5 minutes each; with a draw possible I cracked under the time pressure. My opponent provided the following feedback and link to the game:

“According to lichess (https://lichess.org/6YfFMhXL), Bxg7 was the only mistake/blunder in the game. A good quality game to that point, and I’d resigned myself to a likely draw if you’d played Kg1. (Ryan)”

So an 8-0 thrashing. We need to take the positives of getting to play chess against strong opposition – the only way to learn!

We are halfway through our LL season having played five of the ten matches and are at the bottom of the table.

Excellent Draw in NCCL

Ilford A v Barking A 30 January 2023.
North Circular Chess League   Divisions A , 6 board match, G80 + 10
Toss won by Barking- White on odd boards.
Jef Page, captain.

1927      TOM BARTON 0-1  JEFF GOLDBERG 2144 w
1537   sub M FAHEEM  0-1 ROMAN ISMAILOV 2005 b
1688           JEF PAGE 0-1  PETER JASZKIWSKJ 1978
1561       TAHA UNDRE 1-0  IGOR NAUMOV 1840  
1600     DANIEL LOWE 1-0  STEVE BERKLEY 1785                                                            

An excellent draw for Ilford considering we were missing some regular players and we were slaughtered by Barking 5-1 in their home match. A match of two halves- literally. I think it’s unfair as normally I wouldn’t get out of bed unless I play at least a 2000! Neville Twitchell was supposed to play on board 2 but with the M11 closed he never made it to Ilford in time though at least he arrived at the Club but after having been substituted.

Faheem offered to play immediately but being 40 minutes down on the clock saw him scrambling to make up time. Roman quickly got a grip on the opening to win pawns and the Rook & pawns ending was never in doubt. But even before that Berkeley had made a horrible mistake leaving a Rook en prise, Daniel quickly picked it off and Steve resigned. Adhar set up a very strong pawn chain that completely blocked in Ramage’s pieces and with Colin unable to break out- his R, Knight & Bishop never got into the game at all- Adhar opened up the KR file to threaten an unstoppable Queen & R mate. And to complete the triumvirate Taha looked to be losing as Igor dominated the middle game with Q & R to win pawns but Taha took his chance and invaded with his Q & R to settle the issue. So we were 3-1 up but couldn’t quite hold the top boards. I lost a pawn in a Queen’s Gambit Declined and although I made it hard for Peter I couldn’t generate a strong enough counter-attack as his R’s and KN commanded the open c file & he came up with a winning, threatening, N fork. 

The last game to finish, Tom and Jeff on board 1, have played many times against each other so they know each other’s style well. Tom elected to go back to his favourite Leningrad Dutch Defence which has served him well but Jeff wiped out Tom’s Q-side pawns, after having sac’d a B for 2 pawns, and the connected soldiers marched down the board backed up by a Rook.

An excellent and surprising result for us- the grade difference was around 270 in Barking’s favour- a massive advantage- as we are bottom of the strong NCCL division A table. But at least with a match point we are now on the score board.

Top of Essex D2!

Wanstead 2 v Ilford 1, Tuesday 17 January 2023.
Essex D2, 6 board match, G80 + 10
Jef Page, captain.

           WANSTEAD II  1½ – 4½  ILFORD I
1908  MARK MURRELL  ½   TOM BARTON  1935  w
1820      I KARACSONY  0-1  TONY KENT 1792
1688     ZOE VESELOW 0-1   ADHAR JAISWAL 1556
1828                      Average grade                       1830

Two evenly strong teams saw Ilford come up trumps though perhaps the score was a bit generous in our favour.

The match started quietly with Tom taking a quick grandmaster draw but from here on everything got better. Tony Kent said he might be late but made it in time to put in a powerful pawn-storm against Karacsony who castled O-O-O straight into trouble barely extricating his Queen. To escape cost him his Queen’s Rook and with no development his Kings Rook & Bishop made no moves and went straight back into the box. [see game below]

Teams in play

Rahul had a very tricky middle-game and was in difficulty but went into the endgame a Rook for Bishop and pawn up but Terry, with 2 connected passed pawns, sent them up the board to win. Venkatesh always had the better of Barclay and with his Rooks & Bishops commanding the c-file and swarming all round Paul’s King eventually the pressure told. Similarly Neville got a strong grip on Staniland’s position and when he got command of the 7th rank threatening checkmate, Phil couldn’t break out and it cost him his Queen. The one game that looked in doubt was Adhar’s whose Greco Counter-Gambit cost him doubled pawns and the loss of 2 pawns in the opening against Veselow. But as the game went on she allowed him to get both Rooks on the 7th rank and backed up by a Bishop, young Zoe blundered a Rook and the game.

We lead division 2 with 4/4 though we have Barking, 3/3, yet to play.

Kent v Karascony

B12 Caro-Kann Defense: Maróczy Variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 dxe4
Black is best not taking on e4 but playing something else, e.g. e6 or Qb6 and leaving White’s f3 pawn hindering development.

4. fxe4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Bg4 6. Be2 Bxe2 7. Ngxe2 Nbd7?
7…..e5 is much better for Black
8. O-O Qb6 9. e5 Ng4 10. Na4 Qa5 11. c4 O-O-O 12. b4 Qxb4

13. Qc2 f6 +- and now Black is under severe pressure and Anthony has a few ways to win and does so in style 14. Rb1 Qa5 15. Bd2 Qa6 16. e6 Nb6 17. Nxb6+ axb6 18. Rb4 Qa5 19. Ra4 Qh5 20. Bf4 Rd6 21. Ra8+ Kc7 22. c5 bxc5 23. dxc5 g5 24. cxd6+ exd6 25. Bg3 Ne3 26. Qd2 Nxf1 27. Qa5+ and with mate imminent Black finally concedes

London League Draw!

London League D2 match – Battersea 2 v Ilford 1 – Thursday 12 January 2023.
8 board match, G75 + 15
Tom Barton, captain.

A last minute unavailability saw us travel to the Mindsports centre a player down but with a stronger team on paper I was hopeful we would finally get a match point.

Venkatesh lost early and Taha drew so the rest of the team had work to do. Rahul and I won on the top boards so the final three needed to get a plus to take us to a win. Neville had struggled to get to the venue and started 30 minutes down on the clock. He achieved an endgame of two connected passed pawns and bishop pair against a rook and bishop which is winnable but by this stage he was playing on the 15 second increment making it hard to work out the correct plan; when a bishop pair got swapped off the game became drawn.

Jef had lost control of his position and pressure told with his clock running down as he sought to hold things together. There was then a tense finish in Anthony’s game. A draw was expected but Anthony kept playing and was rewarded when his opponent played a4?

Kent v Farahmandpour
… a4??

allowing Anthony to win.
So a drawn match 4-4 and a half point on the table.

Board                   Battersea 2                        Ilford 1         
1 (B)       1821      Muirhead, Samuel           0 – 1               Barton, Tom A   1935
2 (W)     1722      Wells, Tim                          0 – 1               Ghose, Rahul      1929
3 (B)       1702      Amabile, Domenico     ½ – ½      Twitchell, Neville H         1965
4 (W)     1726      Wessels, Hendrik        1 – 0     Subramanian, Venkatesh              1801
5 (B)       1637      Farahmandpour, Ehsan  0 – 1     Kent, Anthony R               1792
6 (W)     1588      Bassa, Hugo                       1 – 0               Page, Jeffrey      1644
7 (B)       1645      Riggs, Samuel                    ½ – ½               Undre, Taha       1575
8 (W)     1530      Tree, Djuna L                     1 – 0(def) Default

Return D3 match against Thurrock

Essex D3 match – Thurrock 2 v Ilford 2 – Wednesday 4 January 2023.
5 board match, G80 + 10
Tom Barton, captain.

With none of the juniors playing we had a stronger team for this return match against Thurrock. Average grades of 1435 to 1599 suggested we should win the match but not without resistance.

A quick win for Muhammad with his opponent blundering his queen in the middle-game saw us an early point up. Jef made it two up with a checkmate against his junior opponent. They had gone for opposite side castling in a Caro-Kann that had morphed into a Sicilian type setup when Jef’s opponent strayed. See the diagram for the final moves:

24 g6?  – from here Jef (Black to move) grabbed the mate in two.

Taha was a passed pawn down which if his opponent could liquidate the queen and rooks would be winning so a difficult position and that pressure told and he lost.

Adhar started mopping up pawns in his game and Biel reached a very interesting middle-game. Adhar won to secure the match. Biel’s game was see-sawing but eventually he went pawns up and also won – a bit of a grind with opportunities missed to conclude the game more quickly. So the final score was a 4-1 win to start 2023.

1 (W)     1522      Baig, Huzaifa                     0 – 1               Page, Jeffrey      1644
2 (B)       1550      Waszkielewicz, Mariusz 1 – 0               Undre, Taha       1575
3 (W)     1589      Lawrence, Drew               0 – 1               Jaiswal, Adhar    1556
4 (B)       1411      Sandu, Silviu                      0 – 1               Obiols, Biel         1618
5 (W)     1100 Waszkielewicz, Oscar       0 – 1               Faheem, Muhammad     1600L

Full details on the LMS here: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/125103

End of year tight match against Thurrock

Essex D3 match – Ilford 2 v Thurrock 2 – Monday 19 December 2022.
5 board match, G80 + 10
Tom Barton, captain.

Three of the Thurrock players had difficulty finding our venue and were late but father and son, Mariusz and Oscar, started on time. Euan took an opportunity to win a piece in the middle game and went into the endgame a piece up. Dan won quickly and so the match was looking good for us however, Muhammed got out-played on board 2. Euan converted his advantage to a win without trouble so at that stage we were ahead. Adhar dropped a piece and his game putting the scores equal and leaving the match hanging on Rayyan’s game which had a Caro-Kann opening. A fairly even middlegame had been reached although Rayyan’s pawn structure was inferior. With the Queens off, Rayyan got his King into the fray but it became a target and he dropped a piece and the game. So a loss by 2-3.

I give Euan’s game below.

Full result details are on the LMS

We have a chance for revenge with the return fixture at Thurrock on Wednesday 4th January.

Waszkielewicz,Oscar (1100) v O’Connell,Euan (1100) [D07]

Queen’s Gambit: Chigorin Defence 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 dxc4 4.e3 Bf5 5.Bxc4 e6 6.Nf3 Nf6 7.0-0 Bb4 8.a3 Ba5 9.Re1 0-0 10.b4 Bb6 11.Na4 a5 12.Nxb6 cxb6 13.Bd2 Ne4= 14.Bd3?

Position after 14 Bd3 ?

it’s been an equal game so far but Euan now exploits the mistake 14…Nxd2
[14…Nxf2 15.Kxf2 Bxd3 was a better way to gain the piece]
15.Bxf5? [15.Qxd2=] 15…Nxf3+ 16.Qxf3 exf5-+ a piece up and Black converts for a win 17.Qxf5 axb4 18.axb4 Rxa1 19.Rxa1 Nxb4 20.Qb5 Nc6 21.Rb1 Re8 22.Qxb6 Qxb6 23.Rxb6 Nxd4 24.Rxb7 Ra8 25.g3 Ne6 0-1